GAYS MILLS - Last month when I went camping with one of my friends, chasing fireflies was on the agenda for the kids.
It reminded me of how I had not thought about the blinking bug all too much as an adult.
It almost seems like they didn’t exist during my young adulthood. I guess my sense of whimsy took a backseat vacation, while I was young wild and free.
Last year, when I was up at strange hours with my fresh newborn, I would watch the lightning bugs outside of my window; lazily float about on the early summer breeze.
Before we were able to install screens on all of my windows a lightning bug made a break for our chambers. It spent several evenings pleasantly illuminating our bedroom.
Growing up we were lucky to have very little light pollution in our acre of yard.
This resulted in very few horrible June bugs bombing in from any direction, but a fantastic abundance of the bugs with the blinking bums.
My brother and I were innocent enough that we would chase the bugs for hours, gently placing them in a jar.
Once we reached our fill we would use the jar as a lantern to explore hidden corners of the yard, until we heard a rustle in the leaves, which would send us screaming for our mom, waiting on the porch.
Our cousins, who were visiting at the time from Arizona, were not so careful when it came to our favorite summertime joy.
As though they were uncivilized monsters, they would catch the lightening bugs and smear their magic green light like war paint on their face and bodies.
I’ve written before of my experiences with unpleasant pests in my house.
However, I’ve had some memorable ones, like that of the lightning bug that didn’t make my skin crawl at the thought of them.
Another delightful moment that I had while I was spending my sleepless nights with my newborn, was seeing my first living Luna Moth.
Seemingly attracted to the light of lamp by the window, amongst the small fluttering every day moths, came the elegant giant.
My excitement was stifled by the fact I had just gotten my son to sleep and was hoping to successfully lay him down.
The beautiful pale green moth landed right on the window and showed off its underside.
I gingerly extended my leg, and big toe in order to prod Chasca awake so he could share the glory of the moth. However, moths mean nothing to an equally sleep deprived papa apparently. He responded with a grunt and rolled over, pulling the blanket over his head as if he too, would emerge from his cocoon as a beautiful butterfly in the morning.
He perhaps shouldn’t have offended the great and almighty Moth Gods on that night, as the universe seemed to seek revenge later in the summer.
We were up late one night grilling out and enjoying the summer. We had left the door open and in fluttered a huge woodland moth.
It must have liked our back porch for a brief respite. Perhaps seeking sanctuary from our whippoorwill, as they are known to feast on such moths.
Anyway, by the next day, I had decided that Chasca should get the moth out of there. See, I don’t mind bugs as long as they aren’t fluttering near my head, jumping at it. Crawling isn’t so bad, scuttling I can live with. But projectile bugs aren’t my thing.
Chasca and I had a disagreement about moving the moth though. I tried to point out to him, in a not so scientific way that moths and butterflies have this special dust on their wings that help them fly. It is because of this dust that you cannot just simply scoop a flutterby up and give it a toss out the door. He of course disagreed with me on this.
However, through persistent nagging about the status of their wings, Chasca succumbed to my way of operations. He slowly approached the brown flying creature with a sheet of paper that he planned to slip underneath it to gently guide it out the door.
This is when it went horribly wrong, as we like to say at our house.
He made the mistake of pausing for a moment to examine the spectacular creature. It must have sensed the 6’3” redheaded human hovering above it and panicked, for in a flash the moth began to flutter, and Chasca screamed.
“MY EYES! It got some of its moth dust in my eyes and I can’t see!” he reported to me while making odd faces and rubbing both his eyes like someone who just experienced welders flash.
I couldn’t help but gloat at my correct notion of the special moth dust.
“See! See! Sometimes, I do know a thing or two about nature and bugs and the outside!” I squealed.
However, he probably didn’t hear me, as he was blindly groping through the medicine cabinet for the eye drops.